Stretching Into Spring

I love seeing the obvious signs of spring, I love ranching in the hills, and I love the way the earth and the animals have a hand in all of it.

Morning Ice Craft (I'm excited that we are seeing patches of brown earth again).

Over the last week, the ewes have been stretching their legs during the day and feeding their impulse to travel and eat. Yesterday as I unrolled a bale of hay, a line of sheep formed and walked away, drawing each next ewe by some invisible compulsion that sheep seem to possess.

This morning the ewes were nowhere near the hay bales at all. They were already heading East across the pasture, seeking food elsewhere.

So what are the eating, if not hay? Now that the snow is disappearing they are returning to the millet swaths.

I am very grateful that we changed plans and decided to leave the ewes on this paddock and winter feed them here. Especially since the winter was early, heavy and long. The ewes were not able to clean up the swaths in the early winter and it is very fortunate for us that they have the swaths to pick at now.

Meanwhile, back at the barn paddock, the ewe lambs, the cows and Penelope Jane (the llama) do not have the freedom of choice to go elsewhere to eat (they will soon though). Nevertheless, for a barn paddock in the Springtime, this one is serving well. On my tired days, I curse walking up it, but otherwise I sure appreciate the huge hill in this paddock. While we go through our Spring melt, there are areas of muck the animals have to cross, but otherwise they enjoy a dry, residue covered hillside.